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Peacekeeping Mission in Croatia: The Bundestag Resolves to Send Bundeswehr Units (December 6, 1995)

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Foreign minister Klaus Kinkel said that the deployment of the Bundeswehr is morally justified in order to secure peace in a destroyed Bosnia and to help the sorely afflicted people. The objective is not to wage war but prevent it. He rejected statements from the ranks of the opposition that civilian reconstruction efforts were overshadowed by military matters: “The military safeguarding of the peace treaty is the prerequisite for giving reconstruction and democracy any chance at all.” German participation, he said, is meant to send a signal to Europe and the world that “Germany practices responsibility and does its share.” German defense minister Volker Rühe reminded everyone that the Bundeswehr deployment was taking place pursuant to chapter seven of the U.N. charter and aimed to “build peace.” In contrast to the Gulf War or national defense, he said that the soldiers were invited by all the parties in the war to facilitate peace. Finance minister Theo Waigel estimated the cost of the mission at roughly 700 million DM. Of that, 400 million would come from the defense budget. A decision on further funding could not be made until the middle of next year, he said. Waigel criticized certain ranks within the opposition, accusing them of holding an “ethically and politically untenable position.”

A large majority finally approved the deployment of 4,000 Bundeswehr soldiers. Of the 656 members of parliament who were present, 543 voted in support of the government’s motion, 107 voted no – including some SPD members – and six abstained. Whereas the PDS cast a unanimous no vote, the Greens were divided: 22 voted yes, and the same number rejected the Bundeswehr deployment. Five [Green] members of parliament who originally seemed to support the measure abstained in the wake of the party congress resolution.. A conflict arose within the Greens in connection with the vote. Jürgen Trittin, a spokesman for the “pacifist” wing of the party, called the behavior of the so-called “Realos”* in the faction a provocation. The faction leadership and the rank and file, according to Trittin, had shown “no ability to come together” in the vote. (SZ, FAZ, NZZ, KRWE, mdw).

* The “Realos” (realists) represent the pragmatic wing of the Green Party, while the “Fundis” (fundamentalists) hold tight to fundamental party principles, including pacifism – trans.

Source of original German text: “14.12.1995 (Donnerstag). Bosnien-Herzegowina. Bundesrepublik Deutschland. NATO” [“12. December 1995 (Thursday). Bosnia-Herzegovina. Federal Republic of Germany. NATO”], in Archiv der Gegenwart: Deutschland 1949 bis 1999. December 14, 1995, pp. 49.711-49.722.

Translation: Allison Brown

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